Road users face fines in city’s safety bid

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MOTORISTS and cyclists are to be fined for failing to observe traffic signals and road markings under a new crackdown.

The tough approach – part of a safety campaign launched yesterday by the city council, police, fire service and NHS Lothian – comes after a spate of fatal accidents on the Capital’s roads in the past 12 months.

Under the scheme, all road users caught breaking the rules at junctions will be fined £60, with drivers also given three penalty points.

A four-week education campaign, including a roadshow and free bicycle maintenance checks, will tour the city before police begin enforcement.

The campaign, called Drive Safe Cycle Safe, is one of a series developed by the city authorities and emergency services, and aims to reduce the number of road traffic incidents involving cyclists.

Transport leader Gordon Mackenzie said: “We want to remind people of what the rules mean and remind them that they are enforceable.

“It’s to make motorists more aware of cyclists and cyclists more aware of their responsibilities too.

“The bottom line is that we want to reduce accidents, and a big part of this is making road users aware of what they can do to stop them from happening in the first place.”

Lynne McNicoll, 55, who is raising funds to promote safer cycling after her stepson, Andrew, was killed in a crash earlier this year, said: “This campaign is something I would definitely support.

“Certainly in the last few months I have been a lot more aware, from watching motorists and cyclists, of just how much education is needed.

“We have said many times that we do not want to do the blame thing. It’s very, very much about working together to make real changes.” Andrew McNicoll, 43, died after he was struck by an articulated lorry in Lanark Road in January, one of four fatal cycling accidents to take place in Edinburgh in the past 12 months.

In April last year, Craig Newton, 32, from Musselburgh, died after he was hit by a council bin lorry outside Broughton Primary School. In August, Audrey Fyfe, 75, died following a crash in Portobello Road.

Another city resident, Bryan Simons, 40, was killed last month after he collided with a taxi in Corstorphine Road.

Ian Maxwell, of the cycling campaign group Spokes, said: “This campaign is about saying that improvements can be made by both motorists and cyclists.” Chief Inspector Gavin Phillip, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “Throughout the campaign we will have officers on bikes engaging with the community and encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions and to show respect towards other road users.”

‘I hung on to avoid car’s wheels’

A DRIVER who tried to shake a cyclist off his bonnet by repeatedly braking and swerving after pursuing him through the city yesterday admitted dangerous driving.

Bernard Anderson will be sentenced next month after the incident in which, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard, cyclist Iain Thomson was lucky to escape serious injury.

In November, Mr Thomson told the Evening News how he was left clinging on to the bonnet after the “grinning” motorist tailed him for more than a mile before ploughing into his bike.

The 32-year-old said the Renault Clio driver had pursued him from Fountainbridge to Johnston Terrace.

Mr Thomson said: “He had this grin on his face, then just drove into me.

“I didn’t want to let go in case I went under the wheels, so I hung on and hoped he would just stop. He must have been doing 20mph to 30mph.”